Lutein supplementation over a one-year period in early AMD might have a mild beneficial effect on visual acuity: the CLEAR study

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Mar 11;54(3):1781-8. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10715.


Purpose: We investigated the effect of daily supplementation with lutein (L) capsules on macular pigment optical density (MPOD) and visual acuity (VA) in patients with early age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-center investigation of the effects of L supplementation in early AMD was conducted. The duration of the trial was 12 months. The centers were Manchester, United Kingdom and Maastricht, the Netherlands. L capsules (10 mg Ester) or a placebo (P) were taken daily. There were 72 patients (mean age 70.5 ± 8.7) assigned randomly to either L (n = 36) or P (n = 36) groups. MPOD using a flicker-based technique (MPS9000) and best corrected VA (LogMAR) were measured at the beginning and at 4-month intervals over the duration of the 12-month supplementation period. Blood serum samples were collected to monitor compliance.

Results: At the end of the trial, an overall increase in the mean MPOD level was found for the L group from 0.38 ± 0.19 to 0.53 ± 0.22 optical density (OD) units. According to a mixed design ANOVA, this was statistically significant (P < 0.001). No change in MPOD was found for the P group. There was no significant change in VA in the L group (n = 36). The P group (n = 36) showed a statistically significant deterioration from 0.05 ± 0.13 to 0.09 ± 0.13 (P < 0.05). When comparing the change in VA over the supplementation period, there was a significant difference between the two groups (P < 0.05). To avoid ceiling effects, 2 subgroups of patients with VA worse than 0.06 at baseline were reanalyzed. In the L subgroup (n = 19) a mean improvement in VA from 0.23 ± 0.12 at baseline to 0.16 ± 0.10 at visit 4 was observed (P < 0.05). In the P subgroup (n = 14), there was a small deterioration from 0.18 ± 0.13 to 0.19 ± 0.12 (P = 0.70). The improvement in VA in the L subgroup was compared to the deterioration in VA in the P group and this effect reached statistical significance (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: L supplementation increases MPOD levels in early stage AMD patients. According to the VA measurements, the progress of the disease might be slowed in some patients with augmented levels of MP. ( number NCT01042860.).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lutein / administration & dosage*
  • Macular Degeneration / blood
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography
  • Retinal Pigments / blood
  • Visual Acuity / drug effects*


  • Retinal Pigments
  • Lutein

Associated data